Let Bill Gates guide you to a happy retirement

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Many of you look at retirement as a daunting challenge, wondering how this next phase of life will pan out and how you will navigate through it. Where will you spend your time? Where will you find meaning? Where will you find fulfillment? Let Bill Gates guide you through these challenges. The author in the article below pulls out some significant and useful learning from a documentary on Bill Gates. Learn from it. Team RetyrSmart

Let Bill Gates guide you to a happy retirement

Carve out space to think

Bill Gates at the peak of Microsoft would go on what he called “think weeks.” He would go out on a weekend retreat by himself in the smallest and most spartan of accommodations. With a fridge full of Diet Coke and a bag full of books, he would get away, alone to read, write and think.

He continues that habit today in earnest. Now running his foundation and using his resources to fight global health issues, getting away from it all is still just as important.

Maybe retirement allows more time for a “think week.” Maybe that self-exploration and self-discovery will calm your spirit and bring clarity on this next phase. In the retirement rush to go out and travel the world — set aside some time for you — some peace and quiet. Take time for yourself to clear your head and think about what you really want in retirement.

 

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Sometimes simple is better

The minimalist accommodations on Gates’ retreats demonstrate that not everything needs to be five star to be thoroughly enjoyed. Reflecting on his life — some of the greatest joys were the simple things.

Joy in retirement might be tennis with a friend, or a canoe on a calm lake. It might be joining a hiking club, tent camping in the desert or a good book by the pool.

Happiness is not always about the glitz and the glamour. Valuing the little pleasures around you in retirement can bring joy.

Value and invest in relationships

Watching Bill’s relationship with his wife is inspiring. Their closeness, how they work together and trust each other.

Gates works more closely with his wife at the foundation than he ever did working at Microsoft. It’s their shared vision and passion that gives that work more meaning.

Maybe retirement is a new time to reconnect with your spouse or partner? Maybe reconnect with an old friend or get closer with a grandchild?

Retirement offers the time to allow you to reconnect and establish deeper relationships with those you value most.

Spend time doing something worth doing

Some might argue some of Bill Gates’ best work happened after his career at Microsoft with his foundation. You might not have your own family foundation, but your contribution doesn’t need to stop when the pay check does.

You can consult the professionals of tomorrow. You can coach and mentor. You can let your voice be heard on Twitter. Create a blog or a podcast. Write a book.

My own grandmother never published anything before she retired. After retirement, she finally had the time to write.

When you retire, you’ll have time to do things that you think will make a difference or things you find personal value. Follow those instincts. Know that the technology exists today to help you make it a reality in ways not available to the generations before you.

Keep learning

I’m fascinated by Bill Gates and his desire to learn and to grow. Despite all his accomplishments, he’s still trying to understand more and find areas where he can make a contribution.

Being a lifelong learner can bring extra fulfilment in retirement. Maybe it’s time to learn a new language or audit a college class. Maybe you’ve been an attorney all your life but could find great joy in watercolour classes.

Understand that fulfilment in this phase takes some effort and some time, and often the most active retirees are the happiest.

People who approach retirement often spend a significant amount of time thinking through the financial numbers required for retirement. As important as that is, preparing for the psychological adjustment of retirement also deserves significant attention.

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